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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Ind. Gov't. - "Sex abuse high at 13 juvenile centers" Pendleton highest in nation [Updated]

Devlin Barrett of the AP has the story on the Washington Post website. A few quotes:

WASHINGTON -- A government study issued Thursday finds 13 juvenile detention facilities around the country have high rates of sex abuse and victimization, where nearly 1 out of every 3 inmates reported some type of victimization. * * *

About 10 percent reported incidents involved facility staff people, and nearly all of those complaints were against female staffers. About 2 percent of the reported incidents involving abuse perpetrated against young inmates by other youths.

Approximately 26,550 juveniles are held in such facilities around the country, and the survey - conducted for the government by Westat, a company based on Rockville, Md. - collected information from about 9,000 of them.

The study identified six facilities where the survey found at least 3 out of every 10 inmates said they were sexually victimized while in custody: Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility in Indiana; Corsicana Residential Treatment Center in Texas; Backbone Mountain Youth Center in Swanton, Md.; Samarkand Youth Development Center in Eagle Springs, N.C.; Cresson Secure Treatment Unit in Pennsylvania; and the Culpeper Juvenile Correctional Center, Long Term, in Mitchells, Va.

At Pendleton, the rate of incidents was double the national average for such facilities.

Another seven sites reported nearly as high levels of sexual abuse or victimization: Victory Field Correctional Academy in Vernon, Texas; Indianapolis Juvenile Correctional Facility; Shawono Center in Grayling, Michigan; Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in Nashville, Tenn.; L.E. Rader Center in Sand Springs, Okla.; Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center in Virginia; New Jersey Training School in Monroe Township, N.J.

At those 13 facilities, most reports of sexual victimization involved nonconsensual sex acts with another youth or serious sex acts with facility staff.

Staff sexual misconduct was higher in state-run facilities than in privately or locally operated sites, the study found, and smaller facilities tended to have fewer incidents of sexual victimization.

Here is the report, Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008-09, issued today.

[Updated 1/8/10] A reader points out that the use of the term "juvenile detention facilities" is incorrect with respect to the Indiana institutions:

IC 31-9-2-71 defines a juvenile detention facility (for Indiana) by referring to IC 31-31-8-2 which makes it clear that a juvenile detention facility is related to a juvenile court function.
Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility, a maximum-security lockup for boys, and the Indianapolis (now Madison) Juvenile Correctional Facility, are both part of the state corrections system.

Jon Murray of the Indianapolis Star has a long story today on the government report, headlined "Juvenile prisons grapple with sex abuse findings: two Indiana facilities have rates much higher than national average."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 7, 2010 11:04 AM
Posted to Indiana Government